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Terence Winch
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She sounds wonderful & your love for her is beautifully apparent. I'm sorry for your loss.
Beautiful post---both the prose and poetry halves. I'm sorry you're losing your loaner dog. A New Yorker piece a few years ago claimed that dogs prefer the company of humans over that of other dogs.
Thanks, Catherine, for your own keen insight.
Beautiful little poem. Paul was a special kind of person and poet.
Thanks, Earle. I only write these pieces to elicit your always excellent responses.
Thank you, Jennifer. That's a lovely compliment.
Thank you, Mr. Gutstein.
We first met in 2013, when he was briefly posted in DC. Bob Hershon of Hanging Loose Press, which has published books by both of us, suggested to Indran that he look me up. Or maybe I met him on one of my jaunts to India.
You are most welcome, mon ami.
Indran Amirthanayagam is one of the most remarkable figures roaming the contemporary poetic landscape. Like some of the poets he most admires—Cavafy, Neruda, Hikmet (all mentioned in the poem below)—he is a citizen of the world. Born into the Catholic Tamil community (a minority within a minority) of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1960, he left with his family for England when he was eight, seeking refuge from his native land’s ongoing strife as well as care for an autistic brother. He lived in the U.K. for six years, attending grammar and primary school there. When he was fourteen, the family moved again, this time to Honolulu, where his father, also a poet, had been offered a job. In Hawaii, Indran was one year ahead of Barry Obama, whom he knew slightly, at Punahou School. In 1978, he left Hawaii for Haverford College in Pennsylvania. After getting his B.A. there, he moved to New York to become, like Lorca, “a poet in New York.” He picked up a master's at the Columbia School of Journalism and remained in New York until 1993, when he got a job with the U.S. Foreign Service, having become a U.S. citizen in the late ‘80s. Indran reading “Fire Department” His Foreign Service positions have included stints in Argentina, Belgium, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, India, Canada, Peru, and Haiti. This is a man who gets around. He writes and publishes in English, French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Portuguese (but sadly and ironically, he has forgotten Tamil, his first language). In the DC area, where he has many friends, he runs a reading series at a Haitian restaurant called Port au Prince and has just become editor of the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, an online journal. He is indefatigable; he works full time; he writes a poem a day, at a minimum; he travels constantly. In the first half of this year alone, he felt he simply had to go to San Francisco to help celebrate Ferlinghetti’s hundredth birthday; he caught a train from DC to New Orleans to take part in a literary festival; he brought his 83-year-old mother back to Sri Lanka for the first time in 30 years; he’s made several trips to New York. He may be the most ubiquitous poet on the planet. He always wears a hat. His poems (the ones in English, anyway) have a directness, almost a plainness, about them. His work is deeply literary, full of reverence for his fellow poets, but devoid of stylistic pretensions. The poems are like enhanced emails, addressed to his friends and readers, but made resonant and luminous through the work of the imagination. Gift at the End I woke up the other day and thought about the best gift I could offer friends turning a year older on the various continents—I know people everywhere like you, thanks to powerful social media—a poem, certainly, electronic card, phone call, even a visit? Can you imagine boarding a steel and aluminum plane—wood used only for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Earle, and thanks for tipping me off to this recording---James Earl Jones certainly knew how to get a poem across brilliantly.
Thank you, my friend. Is there any chance of your becoming the New Yorker's next poetry editor?
Thank you, Michael. You have always reminded me of him. And he would have totally loved you (and not just because you're such a great musician).
Thanks, Maureen. Great to hear from you.
Danke, mein Freund.
Thanks, Betsy. (The Vega he's playing is the one I have had since he died.)
Thank you, Ms. Campbell
Thank you, Ms. Campbell.
Absolutely right, Jerry.
Absolutely right, Jerry.
Thanks, Michael.
Good to hear from you, Marti. I thought that was your brother Neil in the photo, but I sent it to Martin Flynn, who said he thought it was you.
Thanks, Patrick. I know he was delighted that you were named for him, though I imagine your memories of him are faint.
My father, Paddy Winch (1905--1971), worked as the custodian of St. Thomas Aquinas elementary school in the Bronx, which this poem commemorates. He was a very generous and loving man, much beloved by his children and all who knew him. The photo shows him playing the banjo in 1958 in the house in Cahercrea, County Galway, Ireland, where my mother, Bridie Flynn, was born and raised. My parents were in Ireland that summer, their first trip back in almost 30 years. (Dublin cousins Noel Rogan and Martin Dawson are also seen in the photo.) Custodian for charlie fanning _________________________________ I ran the shovel along the street, a razor path through the sidewalk face, snow lather parting for me, for my father, our feet crunching in the city night. We grabbed the garbage cans from school and church and dragged them up the iron stairs. I lugged burlap bags stuffed with bingo cards, light as cream puffs. We swept the auditorium with green sawdust from huge drums. We hammered and drilled in his workshop, where tools hung on pegboard, their images silhouetted behind them For instant identification and placement. Once he sawed his index finger in half on the power saw in a moment of inattention in a life otherwise built of skill and care. Once a year the Monsignor made him climb inside the giant boiler and clean it out with enormous pipe cleaners till he was black with soot that took days to wash off. Sonny boy, he called me, and laddie buck. He always said just do your best. We loved to watch him fall asleep on the couch, Daily News over his face Snores filling the apartment with the music of rest well deserved. His finger took years to heal enough for him to play again but a black scar Ran down its center. He’d give me a rub with his unshaven face, rough as sandpaper. He’d pretend he didn’t know me, scrubbed from the tub, the lovely lie delighting me every time. from Boy Drinkers (Hanging Loose Press, 2007) Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
This is fantastic. What a great collaboration. I wish John had then written poems using the same titles, but maybe that would have been too much.